Wednesday, August 14

I Paid Off my Student Loans!

Quick update from the steamy swamps of Tampa Bay...

I've been working tirelessly this year to simplify my finances by eliminating accounts and paying off debt.  August marks a major milestone:  I have now paid off my student loan debt.

Getting rid of my student loans wasn't about saving on interest:  I consolidated at the perfect time and my interest rate was only 1.625%.  It was about eliminating a monthly debit from my checking account.  The psychological affect - one less bill every month, one less form to file on my taxes, one less account to track on my monthly spreadsheet - was more important than anything else.

So, with that, there's a new, more noble goal:  pay off the mortgage on my rental property.  I owe about $58,000 on it, and pay $449/month.  Getting this paid off will have a noticeable impact on my cash flow.

Monday, August 12

Cut, cut, cut...

If it doesn't "spark joy", why are you doing it?  Not to steal a phrase from Marie Kondo, but it's true.  We often spend money on things that don't make our lives better.  I've been questioning why I'm spending money on everything lately.  With that, it's cut, cut, cut.

  • After satisfying our 12 month agreement, I called to cancel our Busch Gardens passes.  We were paying $30/month for them, and in the last year we visited once for about two hours.  What a waste.
  • I've been thinking about canceling Netflix for a period of time.  More and more I notice that new movies aren't coming to Netflix.  My queue is loaded with content made by Netflix while noticeably void of movies that actually played in theaters.  Don't get me wrong - overall I love having Netflix.  But it seems like canceling for 90 days or so wouldn't hurt us at all.  We still have Sling and Amazon Prime.  Doing this would save around $50 with basically no consequences.  For now, I'm testing a downgrade.  I changed from the $12.99/mo HD plan for 4 devices to the $8.99/mo standard plan for one device at a time.  It's $4/month in savings... I want to see if we'll notice a difference in video quality.  Canceling altogether is still on the table.
  • I would love to find a way to reduce the cost of the big stuff, but how?  Auto insurance with GEICO - I've had auto insurance for more than 25 years, never filed a claim.  What am I getting for my $100/month besides piece of mind?  Same with health insurance.  I cut that cost down to $379/month this year, but that's still $379 more per month than I spend in actual costs.  I haven't filed a single claim with my insurer.
  • Same goes for the rental properties.  Do I really need termite protection?  What about property insurance - having never filed a claim, the premiums I have paid since becoming a landlord in 2006 could have nearly paid to replace one of my properties.
I'm taking a hard look at all recurring costs.  The immediate benefit, simplifying my finances, is all the motivation I need.  But knowing the money I earn isn't being wasted is just as important.

Thursday, August 8

My Frugal Miser - July Expenses: $9,390

July was an expensive month.  Fortunately my income exceeded my spending.  My Sonata has over 192,000 miles on it.  I don't have a car payment, but it does require some repairs every now and then.  Last month I replaced the serpentine belt and the rear suspension.  Spending on gas was also higher because I drove for Uber and Lyft some and did a lot of Amazon deliveries.

Spending on food and fun was higher last month.  We went to Costa Rica for a month, which accounts for a lot of it.  Last thing to mention:  $1,600 of my spending was directed as an overpayment of my student loans.  Not really an expense.  I'm getting really close to having those paid off.

July Business Spending:  $2,944
July Personal Spending:  $6,446

July Expenses:  $9,390

$1,150 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$49 Bank Fees
$214 Clothing/ Personal Care
$570 Fun (vacations movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$470 Food
$530 Health & Dental
$1,482 Household/Mortgage Payment/Home Repair
$0 Interest Expense
$1,608 Miscellaneous (Student loan overpayment)
$117 Taxes includes quarterly tax payments
$25 App Jobs Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$58 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
($476) Reimbursed Employee Expenses income this month
$256 Utilities
$1,445  Rental Property Expenses
$1,892 AirBNB Expenses

Tuesday, August 6

My Frugal Miser - July Income: $11,645

What a solid month! July will be the last "great" month of the year, unfortunately.  Airbnb bookings have slowed down significantly.  And while I have a few meetings booked, most of my work the rest of the year will have to come from making Amazon deliveries or driving rideshare.

July Income: $11,645

$30 Mystery Shopping
$2,556 Meeting Jobs
$162 Gig Apps (Rideshare, Scooter Charging, etc.)
$1,604 Amazon Deliveries
$4,040 Rental Income
$3,247 Airbnb Income
$66 Interest Income
-$60 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $13,927

July was another great month for my stock investments.  Much of my portfolio is now in low-risk bonds and CDs, which should shelter me from the next correction.